People who pose little risk are held in the New Orleans jail

Through the use of a research-based tool, people arrested and accused of a felony are assessed for risk of failing to appear in court and of being re-arrested if released. Detention of defendants who are found to present low and low-moderate risk should be the carefully limited exception rather than the rule.8

Out of the 743 people in jail on August 2, 2017, who were assessed for risk and given a risk score, 251 (34 percent) were found to present a low or low-moderate risk for re-arrest and/or failure to appear in court. While the remaining people held in jail may not have a risk score, it is probable that some portion of this group presents low risk and is appropriate for pretrial release. Overall, this suggests there is an opportunity to safely reduce the jail population by making release decisions based on risk, rather than a person’s ability to pay a money bail.

032318 Figures 03